Skip to main content Skip to navigation

The spectacle of TV explored in new book

  • Warwick has a small number of places available in clearing in the Department of Film and Television Studies in 2016. Our clearing hotline number is 024 7653 3544 and it will open at 8am on Thursday 18th August.

From beautiful landscapes to Embarrassing Bodies a new book by a University of Warwick academic examines what makes us stop and stare at the TV.

Spectacular Television

Spectacular Television by Dr Helen Wheatley traces a history of television as spectacular attraction, from its launch to the contemporary age of surround sound, digital effects and HD screens In the first part of her book she examines TV from its early stages – how it was sold to potential viewers and the introduction of colour, right up to the new technologies such as high definition.

Human bodies

In the book Dr Wheatley, who is associate professor of Film and Television Studies at the University of Warwick focuses on the spectacle of nature, landscape, and human bodies on television. She does this via explorations of popular TV dramas, documentary series, factual entertainment and natural history programmes.

She said: “In the book I’ve examined the programme genres that make us want to stop and stare; entranced, disgusted or attracted. In order to this I’ve analysed a wide range of TV output – from natural history programmes to Game of Thrones to Channel Four’s Master of Sex.

“I’ve asked the questions ‘what are we attracted to, what do we find beautiful and why?’ I also explore how TV provides relaxation and visual pleasure.”

Watch Dr Wheatley discuss her book and Film and Television Studies at the University of Warwick


In the age of mobile technology Dr Wheatley argues that TV still has a big part to play in our lives. She added: “We talk about television being more mobile but the spectacular aspects of TV provide moments that make us want to stop and sit in front of a big flat screen television; this is different to watching a news report or a video made by a friend on a hand-held device.”

Spectacular Television is published by IB.Tauris & Co Ltd

9 August 2016

For further details please contact Nicola Jones, Media Relations Manager, University of Warwick 07920531221 or